Roswell Parks appoints first-ever chief diversity officer

A new role will give a Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher and public-health expert expanded opportunity to apply her deep-rooted commitment to improving the lives of people from underserved communities.

Roswell Park recently announced the promotion of Elisa M. Rodriguez, Ph.D., to chief diversity and equity officer for faculty.

Rodriguez first came to Roswell Park as a graduate student, and in 2012 joined the staff as director of community engagement resource, a role she still holds today. In the new role of chief diversity and equity officer for faculty, she will lead Roswell Park’s work to build bridges between researchers and the community all around our center, highlighting the cultural diversity that exists both within and outside of Roswell Park. She will also be a resource and support for Roswell Park clinical and research faculty from underrepresented groups.

In her contributions as a faculty member within the department of epidemiology and prevention, Rodriguez has worked to amplify Hispanic, Latinx, Black and Native American voices in conversations surrounding medical research and access to care. She directs Roswell Park’s research oncology community knowledge program (ROCKstars), which enlists cancer survivors and researchers, and serves as staff liaison to the Community Advisory Board that informs and guides the work of Roswell Park’s Community Outreach and Engagement team.

“Dr. Rodriguez is a faculty champion who has already been a great resource for her colleagues,” says Candace S. Johnson, Ph.D., president and CEO and M&T Bank Presidential Chair in Leadership of Roswell Park. “She is an outstanding researcher who has committed her career to overcoming health disparities, and will be an incredible asset and support for all of us in this new position.”

A Western New York native, Rodriguez holds a doctorate from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and completed her master’s degree through Roswell Park’s graduate program, the Roswell Park Graduate Division of the University at Buffalo.

Photo: Elisa Rodriguez